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Government appeal of Judge Baynton's findings of malice

Affidavit of Marilyn Hedlund

I MARILYN HEDLUND of Regina, Saskatchewan, civil servant MAKE OATH AND SAY:

1. THAT I am employed by the Government of Saskatchewan as the Executive Director of Child and Family Services in the Department of Community Resources and Employment.

2. THAT I am aware of the judgment under appeal on this matter and of the general nature of the facts underlying the judgment.

3. THAT the Child and Family Services Division with the Department of community Resources and Employment, in which I am employed administers the Province's child protection program pursuant to The child and Family Services Act S.S. c C-7.2.

4. THAT program puts the department's staff in very many situations of investigating whether or not a child is in need of protection as defined in the statute and of providing for the needs of children who by the operation of that program have come into the care of the Minister.

5. THAT the work of that program is carried out by departmental employees and by many people under contract with the department such as therapists working with children who are wards of the Minister.

6. THAT frequently that work brings to the attention of those departmental representatives stories told by children or observations of the children which appear to point to a crime possibly having been perpetrated against the child.

7. THAT it is and has long been our department's expectation of our staff and contractors that they will report such information to the police, co-operate with the police, but leave the police investigation and police decisions to te police while they continue to perform their functions for the children which will involve satisfying themselves as to the relevant facts to enable them to make decisions regarding the safety and best interests of the child.

8. THAT in such situations there is often need for information sharing between departmental representatives and police who are each performing important functions respecting the same situation.

9. THAT from my discussions with and messages from employees of the department, I am convinced that many of them with jobs in the area of child welfare consider this judgment to create uncertainty in the law with respect to whether or when they can report information to the police and to what extent they can co-operate with the police without risking liability in a malicious prosecution lawsuit.

10 THAT makes me concerned that the departmental representatives may hesitate inappropriately to make reports to the police of information that comes to their attention, as required by policy and that this could potentially impact the safety of children.

11. THAT I consider it to be a matter of public importance to seek clarification regarding the issues of law in this appeal and take this affidavit in support of the Attorney General for Saskatchewan's application for leave to intervene so that counsel for the Attorney General might seek to ensure that these issues are fully argued before the Court of Appeal.

Signed before a Notary Public December 8, 2004, Marilyn Hedlund